August 31, 2018
By Catherine Crider

Lesson plan

Reading in Turn

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Do you need extra help for EL students? Try the Taking TurnsPre-lesson.
EL Adjustments
Do you need extra help for EL students? Try the Taking TurnsPre-lesson.

Students will be able to take turns sharing stories with each other.

The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments
(5 minutes)
  • Call students together.
  • Give each student a building block.
  • Place one block in the centre of the circle. Instruct students to take turns adding their block on the top of the last to create a tower. Point out that if students rush one another or don’t take turns, the tower might not be straight or stand upright.
(7 minutes)
  • Tell students that reading and writing can also involve taking turns.
  • To practise taking turns, provide the story starter, “I opened my eyes and saw…” Have students take turns each providing one sentence to add to the story. (It can be fun to write this down and read it back to the group after every student has had the chance to contribute a sentence.)
  • Encourage students to think about ways that they can take turns reading. (Students might suggest taking turns turning pages, asking/answering questions about the text, taking turns telling the story, etc.)
(5 minutes)
  • Pass out a printed copy of a levelled reader to each student.
  • Take a few moments to review proper book handling skills. Have student volunteers demonstrate how to hold the book properly and how to turn pages.
  • Explain to students that there is a type of reading called partner or buddy reading. In this type of reading, people take turns reading pages to each other. Remind students that it is important for the partners not to talk over one another and for them to wait patiently until it is their turn to read or ask a question.
  • Demonstrate partner reading with a student, each taking turns reading one page at a time from the levelled reader.
  • Have students turn to a partner and practise buddy reading with the same levelled reader. Once students seem to understand what is expected, have students find a different partner. Explain to students that students will be spreading out throughout the room and each partner will read two pages at a time to their partner. Once students finish the book, they will switch partners one more time. This time when they read, each partner will switch off every other word.
  • Before sending students off to work, remind them of any independent work rules (i.e., only speaking in a whisper, raising hands for needs, etc.) and make sure that everyone is clear on what is expected.
(10 minutes)
  • While students are working, any adults in the room should be circulating, answering questions, and assessing student abilities in turn-taking and reading.
  • Having a signal for the exact time to switch partners/a system for switching partners can help reduce any congestion or confusion.


  • For students needing a greater challenge, choosing a higher level reader will add to the difficulty.


  • Using an online version of the levelled reader with audio supports can help students with any unfamiliar words.
  • Having students pre-mark what pages and words to read can help simplify the task of determining when to read.
(5 minutes)
  • Adults should take anecdotal notes about how students work with their partners.
  • Partners can be asked to give feedback to their partner on how they felt they did at turn-taking.
(5 minutes)
  • Call students back together.
  • Ask students to share about their experiences. What did they most like to do? What did they find most difficult? What makes a good partner? What did students feel when it was their turn to listen? To read?
  • If time allows, consider having student partners read another levelled reader.
  • Before concluding, point out any cozy two-person spots in the classroom where students may want to read as partners during their free time.

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